The Band – The Band (1969)

Album no. 156/1001

Bobby D’s favourite friends The Band are back with their second album to feature on this list.  

This is also Neddy K’s favourite album by this band, so I wonder whether that will play into his review? SPOILER ALERT: It definitely will.

Interestingly, this album was recorded in a pool house (OMG LIKE THE OC) of a home previously owned by such stars as Judy Garland and Sammy Davis Jnr. Very Hollywood. 

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: No. God no. The only song I’ve ever heard by The Band was on their first album on this list – Music from Big Pink – so… I know nothing going in.

NK: DEFINITELY. This is my favourite album by The Band.

CL: Goody.

Standout track

CL: This is slightly more bearable than their last album, THANK HEAVENS. I quite liked ‘Rag Mama Rag’ and ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’. This doesn’t sound anywhere near as boring as their first album! What a fresh surprise.

NK: Tough call. I think it’s between ‘Across the Great Divide’ and ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’. There are other good tracks (‘Up on Cripple Creek’ is weirdly great, and ‘Look Out Cleveland’ really gets to me for some reason) but I think it has to be between those two. If I had to pick one? ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’.

VIRGIL CAINE IS THE NAME, AND I SERVED ON THE DANVILLE TRAIN.

CL: ‘When You Awake’ is pretty good. DAMN ‘JEMIMA SURRENDER!’ Is this even the same band as The Band?!

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: Well, I can tell you it goes pretty good when you’re organising a budget. Yeah. I’m fiscally responsible – cop that.

NK: This is pretty old-timey. It’s meant to be, but you have to be in the mood for it. I think listening to the lyrics really helps here, a lot of the songs are really weird and interesting. The production is good too though, Levon’s drumming especially is great. Like Johnny Cash, I think this is a good example of country music that is actually good (and doesn’t sound anything like your typical country music). I really like this album.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: I mean, if this is country music, I’m on board. They really carved out a niche for themselves. Everyone else is too concerned with distorting their guitars and having songs go on forever with solos left, right and centre – then you have these blokes who are more than happy to write songs that sound like they should be the house music in that saloon in Back To The Future III.

NK: I think it’s really interesting that this comes right after Led Zeppelin. It’s hard to pick two bands who were doing more contrasting things. Like Music From Big Pink, this is deliberately anachronistic. They’re singing ye olde timey folk songs about the civil war for goodness sake! But the songwriting is great, they can play their instruments, the arrangements are interesting and they even vary the singing voices!

CL: In terms of their progression, this sounds so much better than Music From Big Pink. I think maybe it’s due to the lack of organ – it doesn’t stick it in the 60s as much.

NK: This is a weird album. It sounds like something that would have been written in 1870, but for whatever reason they didn’t get around to recording it until 1969. There are no political hot takes here, nothing topical. But that makes it sound timeless rather than dated.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: I definitely liked this one loads more than Music From Big Pink. I will likely listen to this again! I’M SHOCKED.

NK: You bet!

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to The Band on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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